The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), along with Maryland oyster restoration partners and watermen, recently planted the 10 billionth oyster in the Chesapeake Bay, highlighting the environmental and economic value of one of the Bay’s keystone species. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan joined ORP’s leaders and officials from federal and state agencies to watch the planting vessel deploy spat-on-shell on the Hood Reef, a public oyster reef south of Kent Narrows. Hogan led a ceremonial planting to mark the significant 10 billion milestone.
Maryland embraced large-scale oyster plantings as a key component of its Chesapeake Bay restoration strategy, deploying hundreds of millions of juvenile oysters on both sanctuary reefs and public oyster reefs annually. Oysters are beneficial because they filter excess nutrients from the Bay’s waters, provide valuable habitat for other marine species, and boost the state’s commercial seafood industry through annual harvests and oyster aquaculture.
10 Billion (with a "B") sounds like a lot of oysters, but freshly set oyster spat are rather small, and have a very low survival rate in their first year.
If they really wanted to build up the oyster population, the obvious step is to stop harvesting wild oysters.